CBSE Introduces Competency-Based Assessment Reforms

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has recently announced its shift from content-based teaching to a Competency-Based Education (CBE), which it describes as “an approach to teaching, learning, and assessment that focuses on the student’s demonstration of learning outcomes and attaining proficiency in particular competencies in each subject.” To augment the thrust towards this shift, the board has now initiated changes in its assessments and evaluation methods from the academic year 2021-22 onwards.

To improve the quality of education imparted and to shift the focus from assessment of learning to assessment for learning, the board, in alignment with the National Education Policy 2020, has called for a change in the current assessment system. The prevailing assessments in Indian schools mostly tests a student's rote memorization skills. The board, however, is now focusing on shifting to a more competent, more regular, and formative assessment system that involves meaningful and positive learning experiences, reflective observations, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation.

Competency Based Assessment banner

Why is CBSE pushing for assessment reforms based on a Competency-Based Learning system?

Aligned and focused on NEP 2020, several Indian schools are progressively adopting the outcomes-based approach to improve the quality of education. The Competency-based learning system aims at developing real-world skills useful in the current global marketplace. The courses under this system focus on imparting outcome-based learning using relevant instructional material to help students progress on a particular career path. The outcome of such a learning process is that students acquire better employability skills and have relevant experience in their chosen career fields.

What Is Competency-Based Learning?

The need for a Competency-based learning system arose from several years of research on learning theory, brain science, and youth development. The outcome of this research was a learner-centered approach rather than a teacher-centered approach. Personalized learning, competency-based learning, learning that can take place anytime, anywhere, and students having ownership of their learning are the four key principles that form the pillars of this learning system. When propelled by a coherent and rigorous set of educational goals, these key principles lead to an in-depth understanding of concepts essential in preparing students for college, career, and future life.

To conclude

Although CBSE has propelled the changes in its education system by introducing competency-based assessment and evaluation reforms, this is a partial implementation of the principles of the competency-based education system. The CBSE framework currently focuses on helping schools move away from rote learning. To ensure complete implementation of competency-based learning, a shift towards digital learning is essential to help support the key components for delivering competency-based education.


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